Unilever and Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina have joined forces to boost the availability of sustainable dairy products.

The project will focus on animal welfare, energy use, waste management and reducing  carbon footprints.

FrieslandCampina said 12 of its farms have been assessed against Unilever's Sustainable Agriculture Code (SAC) and aims for another 118 farms to be assessed before the end of March. This will allow Unilever to buy sustainable dairy ingredients from FrieslandCampina before the end of next year, the company added.

Roelof Joosten, executive director of ingredients for FrieslandCampina: "We are glad that at FrieslandCampina we are already able to fulfil the Unilever criteria on sustainability. This is an opportunity to reduce the total eco footprint in the entire production chain."

Unilever said over 9% of its European dairy suppliers meet or exceed the SAC standard and added that it has ongoing programmes with its suppliers to help the company meet the target of 100% sustainable sourcing of its agricultural raw materials by 2020.

"We are working closely with other dairy suppliers and expect great progress on SAC compliance next year," a spokesperson for Unilever said today (15 November).

"This will help us reach our intermediate target of sustainably sourcing 30% of agricultural raw materials by 2012, 50% by 2015 and 100% by 2020," she added.